1st June 2012 at 10:14 #577484
Anonymous1st June 2012 at 10:14 #577485
This flight from Dubai to Hong Kong was a continuation of my journey from the UK and, as such, I availed of the Business Class Lounge from where the boarding call was made some 40 minutes prior to scheduled departure at 03.20.
The choice of this flight involves an interesting compromise. It is a direct connection, something only recently available, and, as such, gives the opportunity for 7 hours+ rest. However, it is served by an aging A330 aircraft which patently does not offer the same level of comfort as its newer cousins. Indeed, the indirect service via Bangkok leaves just 15 minutes prior to this departure, with the comfort of an A380 but the downsides of a break in the journey and an arrival time almost 3 hours later.
The gate was a short 5 minute walk from the Lounge and, there, my Business Class boarding pass was exchanged for 2K in First – a good start. There was no queue for boarding and I was at my seat without any hassle.
Pre-flight drinks were served and a large amenity pack distributed – this is only seems to be available on night flights with Emirates. As a First seat, this offering on the A330 is a non-starter – it is way inferior to that in Business on the A380 and not on the same planet as Emirates Suites. The First cabin is a tight 2-2-2 with two rows. The seat itself is very comfortable but movement is restricted, especially when the beds were flat in front and next to me, as I was sitting in my window seat. Indeed, exiting to the aisle when my neighbour was fully flat and asleep would be a real challenge, especially if:
you don’t like to wake people
you have short legs
you are not a natural athlete
you are half asleep
Needless to say, I fulfill all these conditions and I wished that I had been Sergey Bubka for just those fleeting moments.
Service on this flight is somewhat challenging for the airline. leaving Dubai at 03.20 and arriving in Hong Kong at 15.00 (both local times) means that the beautifully presented a la Carte menu is a mixture of breakfast and lunch items and the consequence is the oddity of enjoying your light continental breakfast while your neighbour tucks into stir fried lobster or chicken parmesan. Their smells over breakfast were challenging….. Service was full of smiles but of a somewhat haphazard nature with the need to ask regularly for basic things like coffee with breakfast.
The First cabin on the A330 has just the one toilet and this does create queues. I did try to make my way through the Business galley as an alternative, only to be sent back my the curtain guardian – “This area is for Business Class only”. I have always assumed that curtains were to stop the rabble invading premium class space and did not realise that it also was intended to shield us up front from the seething masses in Business and economy!!
Arrival in Hong Kong was a couple of minutes ahead of schedule and First Class were deplaned first. I was at Immigration within 5 minutes of leaving the plane – a longish queue but disappeared rapidly. My luggage was on the belt within 5 minutes of getting there – only challenge was that our flight was doubled up with another and this created crowding in the fight for bags. In the car exactly 30 minutes after landing.
If I was paying for Emirates First having sampled the A380, I would be disappointed with the A330 offering. Its fine for a daytime, medium-haul journey but really not up to the mark for a night-time journey.1st June 2012 at 11:04 #577486
Having travelled a few times in F on the EK332, it strikes me as a good business seat with enhanced service.
Not proper F.
And J on the 332 is like an enhanced premium economy service – loads of legroom and recline, but narrow.1st June 2012 at 18:46 #577487
It would be interesting to know if there is a price difference on these services when planes differ
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